I tried get through “120 Days of Sodom” by the Marquis de Sade this week. I expected some dark shit, but not every possible kind of dark shit imaginable on every damn page. Your kink is not my kink et cetera, but your kink makes me squick. The book has left me with a backwash of ugliness that reminds me of how I felt when I first joined the kink community.
My first weeks on Fetlife exposed me to a de Sade-like world replete with litres of blood and gore that terrified me. I don’t judge most of those kinks (anymore), but being exposed to them daily would kick me out of my happy place. Call me a fan of Kink Lite if that makes sense to you. I like my sex to be full of light and love. I like a bit of darkness as much as the next person, but the extremes on the fringes of this community are well beyond my limits. Some of them also go so far outside my ethics that I’d gleefully kick them off the site entirely given half the chance.
These days, I’m very much at home here. I’ve lit the pixelated fireplace, sent out coffee invitations made out of ones and zeroes, and set out digital scatter cushions everywhere. I’ve also built a wall as thick as the Great Wall of China between myself and strangers on the site.
My on-site “ecosystem” is full of people who make me feel good about kink and life. I spend the vast majority of my Fet time reading friends’ content and interacting with people I know, and it took a great deal of time and effort to build the friends list I have today. Once I’d met a few like-minded people, it was only a matter of time before I met their like-minded friends, but finding those first 20 was hardly easy. Even at Friend 100, I was still doing CIA-worthy investigations of everyone I added. These days, I know who I trust, so I don’t need to be quite as careful.
My feed is a feel-good one. It’s not one that leaves me unchallenged, though. My list is made up of as many consent activists as people who rail against outrage culture. There is room for differences of opinion. I don’t sit well with differences of principles, though. If I disagree with someone on my list, it’s because theyshare my principles, but we interpret how those principles need to be carried out differently, so there is space to grow.
Ethics and kinks that make me question myself help me to understand why I approach things the way I do, so I don’t cut the squick factor out of my life entirely. I just make sure my home territory is a happy place. That way, when I do walk out beyond that wall and take a stroll around the neighbourhood, I have the light of ‘family’ to help me see in the shadows.